Resource management director sees tremendous value in certification

Huntsville Center Public Affairs
Published Sept. 20, 2021
For more than a decade, Liz McCullough, Resource Management director, has maintained certification in defense financial management earning her CDFM in 2011 and the CDFM with Acquisition Specialty (CDF

For more than a decade, Liz McCullough, Resource Management director, has maintained certification in defense financial management earning her CDFM in 2011 and the CDFM with Acquisition Specialty (CDFM-A) in 2012.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- As Director of Resource Management Directorate for the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, Liz McCullough, understands the value of the business processes that enables Huntsville Center to provide specialized support to all the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ divisions and districts throughout the world. 

She also understands the value of maintaining professional certification in her field enabling her to provide comprehensive resourcing and financial management advice to Huntsville Center senior management.

For more than a decade, McCullough has maintained certification in defense financial management earning her CDFM in 2011 and the CDFM with Acquisition Specialty (CDFM-A) in 2012.

McCullough said earning CDFM and then CDFM-A certification was a professional goal she had since she began working for the government.

“I have over 33 years' experience in the Comptroller career field starting as a budget analyst, accountant, and then serving in a variety of leadership positions providing financial management, budgeting, accounting, and auditing support to numerous resource management, DFAS, and internal review organizations,” she said.

“Obtaining the CDFM-A was one of my life-time professional goals as an early careerist within the federal government. Achieving the CDFM-A with a continual learning experience (year-to-year), professional growth, and taking on complex job assignments, provides the Army with the ready workforce equipped to take on and solve the most complex and in the future.”

McCullough said she was attracted to the financial management industry since high school.

“I knew I wanted to attend college but was unsure of what I would major in. I was good in math and liked working with numbers. From a mere suggestion from an older sibling, I completed my first accounting course in my senior year of high school and found my niche.

In college, she majored in accounting as an undergraduate while working at a local bank as an auditing clerk. Upon completing her four-year degree (Bachelor of Accounting at Cameron University), she was hired as a full-time staff auditor.

“These initial experiences in the public banking industry drew my interest and decision to join the federal government in December of 1987 and pursue a career in financial management.”

After graduating from college, McCullough said one of her professional goals was to possess a professional certification or license. When the CDFM certification launched in 2000, she was employed with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and her leadership there encouraged everyone working in financial management to obtain the CDFM certification to establish credibility while providing accounting services.

“I decided to get serious about pursuing the CDFM certification and take the preparatory course, which was the Enhanced Defense Financial Management Training Course (EDFMT C). I took the EDFMTC held in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. After I completed the EDFMTC, I followed the instructions (studied the modules I felt most confident in and knew most of the material). I studied after the workday and on the weekends. I prepared and studied notecards and studied other pre-test CDFM materials. I followed the advice from the EDFMTC instructors, and I put in the hard work and extensive study time to prepare for the CDFM modules.”

McCullough said the CDFM/CDFM-A has certainly had impact has had on her career.

“It (CDFM /CDFM-A) provided me first with the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to learn, apply, and grow with a successful career in the Comptroller career field.

She said maintaining her certification is also important sets an example for others in the career field.

“Leaders lead first, not by what they say, but by what they do,” she said.

“CDFM credentials show your commitment, hard work, discipline, and tenacity to achieve a professional test-based certification. Those with the desire to climb the career ladder and pursue greater levels of responsibilities with promotion opportunities should obtain their CDFM and then the CDFM-A. You can apply it across all career programs. There is no position or job in the public or government that does not deal with how to manage or account for resources. You must understand how money works, how to account for it, how to apply it, and stay within the boundaries of public and fiscal law as a responsible steward of trust. The CDFM certification covers all aspects of dealing with money and fiscal accountability.”

She said as the daughter of a career Soldier, she pursued working for the federal government because it’s great opportunity to serve and make a difference.

“Every day, I get the chance to help the team achieve goals, mentor and coach others, and solve problems. My current position allows me that freedom and I do not take it lightly, nor for granted. I am grateful for the flexibility, empowerment, respect, and trust I must lead and set a positive example within the Resource Management Directorate and Huntsville Center.”